19 years ago, the US experienced the worst terrorist attack within its own borders in the country’s history. Shortly after, then-US president George W Bush launched the so-called ‘War on Terror’. This included the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as a large number of covert military operations, including drone strikes and targeted assassinations.
The number of civilian deaths from these activities has been estimated in the millions. Meanwhile, the US lost thousands of soldiers and the UK hundreds in combat across the Middle East. Now, a new report has put the number of people displaced from the ‘War on Terror’ in the tens of millions. And this raises serious questions about the true motivation that lies behind this and other aspects of US foreign policy.
US activist and lawyer Kevin Zeese, renowned for his role in opposing US imperialism and the ‘War on Drugs’, has died at the age of 64. Most recently, he was a central figure in the ‘Embassy Protection Collective’ – a group formed to defend the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC from right-wing agitators who attempted to seize the embassy on behalf of the coup leaders’ US representatives. He was one of the final four embassy protectors who were arrested following a raid of the building by US Secret Service police.
The Canary wishes to express its heartfelt condolences to Zeese’s family and his huge network of comrades, friends, and fellow travellers in the struggle for a better world. His death represents a sad loss for the peace movement and US progressive politics more broadly. But he leaves behind a legacy of activism and intellectual insight that will remain as a lasting symbol of his life’s work and serve as an inspiration to those who strive for a better world.
US President Donald Trump has just opened the door to massive exploitation and despoliation of one of the US’s largest nature reserves. The move has been met with fierce resistance from environmental groups, but only mild rebuke from most Democrats in congress. We shouldn’t be surprised, however; the US essentially has two major right-wing parties that both support the continuation of the capitalist economic system that ruthlessly exploits people and planet alike.
But there is something deeper at play as well. This move also shines a revealing light on the warped philosophical underpinnings of the capitalist conception of nature. And this, in turn, shows the need for a radical transformation of humanity’s relationship to the natural world that goes well beyond cosmetic reforms or simply regulating the status quo. Rather, we need to question the viability of endless economic expansion and consider whether it’s time to give part of the planet back. And there are important lessons that we can learn about how we might do so from non-Western societies and their philosophies of nature.
Joe Biden’s pick of Kamala Harris as his running mate will surely satisfy Democratic Party insiders who were hoping for him to balance the ticket. As a woman of color, Harris kills two birds with one stone by ticking both the gender and race boxes. But the prospect of her becoming vice president is nothing to look forward to. She’s overwhelmingly spent her career, both before and after entering politics, fighting for reactionary policies that completely obliterate the credibility of her claim to be any kind of progressive.
But there’s something deeper going on here. Because Harris represents not just the center-right policy positions of the Democratic establishment. She is also an illustrative example of the kind of empty, tokenistic brand of identity politics that this establishment uses to give its major figures political cover.
The Canary recently reported that major figures from a previous Republican Party administration are rallying behind presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden. This provides clear evidence that Biden is the preferred choice of Washington’s neoconservative establishment. Moreover, it demonstrates that the US has two right-wing, imperialist major parties.
Now figures from the Democratic Party’s small progressive (or, perhaps more accurately, moderate) wing have issued a damning letter criticizing Biden’s choice of company. As the letter points out, his inner circle reads like a who’s who of US interventionism. And this provides even further confirmation that the US is now essentially a one-party state when it comes to foreign policy.
One of Colombia’s former presidents, who to this day remains one of the country’s most influential politicians, was recently arrested on a series of criminal charges. The arrest of Álvaro Uribe represents a major break from the norm for the war-torn South American country. For much of its recent history, its political class has largely been shielded from legal action, even in cases of serious wrongdoing. And this is especially true of figures on the political right.
But there’s more to the story than this. Uribe hasn’t just flagrantly evaded facing the consequences of a litany of alleged ill deeds for many decades, he’s also been one of the US’s most loyal allies in Latin America. And this reality provides one of the most illuminating examples of the brazen hypocrisy of US foreign policy.
Polls on the upcoming 2020 presidential election in the US show presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden ahead by large margins. As a result, Biden’s campaign now seems confident of a decisive victory, or perhaps even a landslide. In fact, it’s almost reached the point of declaring the election already over.
And this triumphalism is quickly turning into outright complacency. For a number of reasons, Biden’s victory is not as certain as it might currently seem.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro recently confirmed that his government has made contact with Norwegian counterparts so they can resume their role as a mediator in dialogue between his government and Juan Guaidó’s hardline opposition faction. Guaidó is the US-backed leader of the coup in Venezuela. The move shows that there is, and always has been, a peaceful way out of the political conflict that’s been roiling the country since the beginning of the coup attempt in January 2019.
But you wouldn’t hear this from Trump administration officials in Washington, their puppets in the Guaidó opposition faction, or their mouthpieces in the corporate media. They would have you believe that dialogue is impossible. Yet the reality is that this narrative has always served as an empty and dishonest façade to portray the US-backed coup strategy as the only way out of the conflict. And that’s the last thing that the coup supporters want the public to clue up to.
US President Donald Trump has sparked outrage by suggesting the US presidential election should be postponed. Though he later seemingly back-pedaled the idea, the comments nonetheless faced fierce criticism from Democratic and Republican political figures alike.
Trump’s comments are certainly outrageous, though at the same time utterly unsurprising. His pathological tendency to lie and his overt authoritarian tendencies have long been apparent to anyone who pays the slightest attention to US current affairs.
But beneath the outrage of political opponents from within the two major US political parties lies a deep web of hypocrisy and false assumptions. Because the US has never really been a democracy. And nor have any of Trump’s predecessors been whiter-than-white when it comes to authoritarianism and dishonesty.
A committee of the US Democratic Party just voted on its policy position regarding aid to Israel. The proposal would continue to fund Israeli security forces generously. This should come as no great surprise given that, with a handful of exceptions, both major US parties have been staunch supporters of Israel and its foreign policy.
But this year, a crucial amendment was roundly defeated by a majority of the committee’s members, which casts serious doubt on the Democratic Party’s commitment to the two-state solution. And this in turn raises the question of whether the US political class has ever really supported it in the first place, or whether it has simply served as a convenient political smokescreen for a much more sinister project.